Paul Luebke, a member of the North Carolina General Assembly who represented Duke’s campus, passed away Saturday. He was 70 years old.
Luebke, a Democrat, served in the North Carolina House of Representatives since 1991. He was also a professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
“Paul Luebke was a dedicated legislator, educator and citizen whose service made North Carolina a better, more equitable place,” wrote Michael Schoenfeld, vice president for public affairs and government relations, in an email. “He represented Duke and Durham with great passion. We will miss him.”
Diagnosed with lymphoma last fall, Luebke returned to work during this year’s legislative short session. He is the author of Tar Heel Politics, a political history of North Carolina.
“Paul had an unprecedented concern for working and marginalized communities and families,” said Durham Representative Larry Hall, who was a close friend and colleague of Luebke. “He always put them first in every public policy debate.”
City council member Steve Schewel, a visiting assistant professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy, noted that Luebke was an important Durham leader.
“Paul deserves immense credit for the progressive, diverse, welcoming nature of Durham," Schewel said in a statement. "He is a chief architect of our city’s current political culture and for 25 years he has been our state’s unflinching progressive champion in the General Assembly—a north star for everything good."
Luebke’s name is still on the ballot for re-election. State election law says that if elected, his successor would be named by members of the Durham County Democratic Party’s executive committee.
This article has been updated to include Schewel's statement.
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